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The College Dropout

album

The College Dropout is the debut album by rapper and producer Kanye West, released February 10, 2004. It was nominated for Grammy Award for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for "Jesus Walks" in 2005. The album has received great acclaim from critics and mainstream fans alike, for its balance of mainstream commercial appeal and its innovative subject matter. It has been called one of the greatest albums of all time by Time and Rolling Stone.

The College Dropout
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2004 (2004-02-10)
Recorded1999–2003
GenreHip hop
Length76:13
LabelRoc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam
ProducerKareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter (exec.), Damon Dash (exec.), Evidence, Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua (exec.), Kanye West (also exec.)
Kanye West chronology
The College Dropout 'Late Registration
(2005)
Singles from The College Dropout
  1. "Through the Wire"
    Released: September 30, 2003
  2. "Slow Jamz"
    Released: December 2, 2003
  3. "All Falls Down"
    Released: February 21, 2004
  4. "Jesus Walks"
    Released: May 25, 2004
  5. "The New Workout Plan"
    Released: August 31, 2004

Background and productionEdit

Kanye West had gotten attention for his production but was not well-known for his rapping. He was turned down by record labels because he didn't have the gangsta image that was popular at that time. He eventually signed with Roc-A-Fella Records. In 2002, West was in a bad car accident which gave him a shattered jaw, so his jaw had to be wired shut. He recorded a song called "Through the Wire" with his jaw still wired shut. This song helped him get a starting point for the album.

The album was recorded at The Record Plant in California. The beats used mainly had pitch shifted samples from gospel and soul records. Some of the beats used were gathered over a long period of time. When the album was finished, it was leaked. West used this as an opportunity to re-assess the album and improve it. He added strings and gospel choirs into his songs.

LyricsEdit

The album was different from the gangsta rap that was popular at that time. The lyrics were on subjects that affected West's life such as family, religion, racism, materialism and more.

Commercial performanceEdit

The College Dropout reached #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart, and reached #2 on the Billboard 200. In the UK, it peaked at #12 on the album chart and spent several months in the top 20. The album went triple platinum in the United States.

The first single from the album, "Through the Wire", was recorded while West's mouth was wired shut after a near-fatal car accident in October 2002. It features a Chaka Khan sample, peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart while its successor "All Falls Down", which features R&B singer Syleena Johnson, peaked at #7. The third single, "Jesus Walks", peaked at #11 while a fourth extract, "The New Workout Plan", made a minor impression on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts (see list of US Billboard chart positions below). In the UK, "Through The Wire" peaked at #9 on the singles sales chart, "All Falls Down" peaked at #10, and "Jesus Walks" peaked at #11.

Track listingEdit

No. TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro (skit)"  
  • Kanye West
0:19
2. "We Don't Care"  
  • West
  • Ross Vannelli
  • West
3:59
3. "Graduation Day (skit)"  
  • West
  • West
1:22
4. "All Falls Down" (featuring Syleena Johnson)
  • West
3:43
5. "I'll Fly Away"  
  • Albert E. Brumley
  • West
1:09
6. "Spaceship" (featuring GLC and Consequence)
  • West
  • Leonard Harris
  • Dexter Mills
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Gwen Gordy Fuqua
  • Sandra Greene
  • West
5:24
7. "Jesus Walks"  
  • West
  • Che Smith
  • West
3:13
8. "Never Let Me Down" (featuring Jay-Z and J. Ivy)
  • West
5:24
9. "Get Em High" (featuring Talib Kweli and Common)
  • West
  • Talib Kweli
  • Lonnie Lynn
  • West
4:49
10. "Workout Plan (skit)"  
  • West
West 0:46
11. "The New Workout Plan"  
  • West
  • West
5:22
12. "Slow Jamz" (with Twista and Jamie Foxx)
  • West
5:16
13. "Breathe In Breathe Out" (featuring Ludacris)
  • West
  • Brian Miller
  • West
  • Brian "All Day" Miller (co.)
4:06
14. "School Spirit (skit 1)"  
  • West
  • West
1:18
15. "School Spirit"  
  • West
3:02
16. "School Spirit (skit 2)"  
  • West
  • West
0:43
17. "Lil Jimmy (skit)"  
  • West
  • West
0:53
18. "Two Words" (featuring Mos Def, Freeway and The Harlem Boys Choir)
  • West
4:26
19. "Through the Wire"  
  • West
  • David Foster
  • Tom Keane
  • Cynthia Weil
  • West
3:41
20. "Family Business"  
  • West
  • West
4:38
21. "Last Call"  
  • West
  • Evidence
  • West
  • Evidence (co.)
  • Porse (co.)
12:40
Notes[1]
  • "Intro", "School Spirit Skit 1", "School Spirit Skit 2", "Graduation Day", "I'll Fly Away", & "The Li'l Jimmy Skit" feature vocals by DeRay Davis.
  • "We Don't Care" features vocals by John Legend and Riccarda Watkins.
  • "Graduation Day", "Jesus Walks" and "Never Let Me Down" feature vocals by John Legend.
  • "I'll Fly Away", "School Spirit" and "Lil Jimmy Skit" feature vocals by DeRay Davis and Tony Williams.
  • "Spaceship" and "Last Call" feature vocals by John Legend and Famous Tony Williams.
  • "Get Em High" features vocals by Sumeke Rainey.
  • "Workout Plan" features vocals by Brandi Kuykenvall, Candis Brown and Tiera Singleton.
  • "The New Workout Plan" features vocals by John Legend and Sumeke Rainey.
  • "Slow Jamz" features vocals by Aisha Tyler.
Sample credits[1]
  • "We Don't Care" contains samples of "I Just Wanna Stop", written by Ross Vannelli and performed by The Jimmy Castor Bunch.
  • "All Falls Down" contains interpolations of "Mystery of Iniquity", written and performed by Lauryn Hill.
  • "Spaceship" contains samples of "Distant Lover", written by Marvin Gaye, Gwen Gordy Fuqua and Sandra Greene, and performed by Marvin Gaye.
  • "Jesus Walks" contains samples of "Walk with Me", performed by The ARC Choir; and samples of "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go", written and performed by Curtis Mayfield.
  • "Never Let Me Down" contains samples of "Maybe It's the Power of Love", written by Michael Bolton and Bruce Kulick, and performed by Blackjack; and interpolations of "Hovi Baby" (remix), written by Shawn Carter, Justin Smith and Kenneth Edmonds, and performed by Jay-Z.
  • "Slow Jamz" contains samples of "A House Is Not a Home", written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and performed by Luther Vandross.
  • "Breathe In Breathe Out" contains samples of "Precious Precious", written and performed by Jackie Moore.
  • "School Spirit" contains samples of "Spirit in the Dark", written and performed by Aretha Franklin.
  • "Two Words" contains samples of "Peace & Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) – Movement IV (Encounter)", written by Lou Wilson, Ric Wilson and Carlos Wilson, and performed by Mandrill; and samples of "The Rainmaker", written by Harry Nilsson and Bill Martin, and performed by The 5th Dimension.
  • "Through the Wire" contains samples of "Through the Fire", written by *David Foster, Tom Keane and Cynthia Weil, and performed by Chaka Khan.
  • "Family Business" contains samples of "Fonky Thang", written by Terry Callier and Charles Stepney, and performed by The Dells; and interpolations of "Ambitionz az a Ridah", written by Tupac Shakur and Delmar Arnaud, and performed by 2Pac.
  • "Last Call" contains samples of "Mr. Rockefeller", written by Jerry Blatt and Bette Midler, and performed by Bette Midler; and samples of "She's Gone to Another", written by Kenneth Ruffin and performed by The Whatnauts.

PersonnelEdit

Information taken from The College Dropout liner notes.[1][2]

ChartsEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Charts (2004) Peak
position
French Albums Chart[3] 98
German Albums Chart[3] 77
Swedish Albums Chart[3] 39
UK Albums Chart[3] 12
US Billboard 200[4] 2
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[3] (Billboard) 1
US Top Rap Albums[3] (Billboard) 1

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2004) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[5] 12
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[6] 4
Chart (2005) Position
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[7] 94

CertificationsEdit

Country Provider Certification
Canada CRIA Platinum[8]
New Zealand RIANZ Gold[9]
United Kingdom BPI 2× Platinum[10]
United States RIAA 3× Platinum[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The College Dropout (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2004.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. Credits: The College Dropout. Allmusic. All Media Guide. April 2, 2004. http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-college-dropout-mw0000326741/credits. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Kanye West – The College Dropout – Music Charts. aCharts.us. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  4. "Kanye West Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  5. "Kanye West - Chart history - Billboard". www.billboard.com.
  6. "2004 Year-End Charts – Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  7. "2005 Year-End Charts - Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  8. "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum – June 2004". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  9. Dec"Latest Gold / Platinum Albums". RadioScope New Zealand. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  10. "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  11. "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database" Kanye West albums. RIAA. Retrieved January 14, 2011.